STAFFORD - In 2008 the recession hit hard for most families. Local businessman Brian Wainwright struggled to "survive the holiday season" that year.

Thinking of all of the other families out there who may have struggled with the same thing, Wainwright and his family decided to give back and began by donating to one family that following Christmas. 

That Christmas, both parents of the family they adopted for the holiday had terminal cancer. "We gave them a really great Christmas that year." Wainwright said. 

Sign Up for E-News

Almost 10 years later, the Wainwright family has continued this tradition year after year in the Stafford area. 

"The more successful we became the more I realized how much I got out of giving back and how it made me feel," Wainwright said, "My family started this, but now we also give our store employees throughout the northeast the opportunity to adopt their own family. We collect everything and bring it back to the families in our area where we started it." 

This year the Wainwrights and their employees have donated to 17 families in our area, as well as donated boxes and boxes full of other toys, games, and clothes for the Stafford Toy Drive.

The families they donate to are anonymous. 

The Stafford Toy Drive was started in 1978 by Rita Parker, who "did a wonderful job over the years," said Officer Fritz. 

"It grew so much as the town grew, which meant the needs of our local families grew as well," Fritz said, "we needed more people to help out so we got the Stafford Recreation involved."

Along with the annual toy drive each year, Stafford Recreation also runs the coat drive. "When the families pick up toys, we also give them the opportunity to pick up coats," Jen McBrien of Stafford Rec said, "95% of the coats we get donated are brand-new coats and we have them all winter long for anyone in need to pick up."

The local quilters group also participate and quilt blankets for families in need. Many local businesses get involved and put out boxes to collect toys and gift cards for the toy drive as well. 

It is a special time of year to celebrate the benevolence of so many in the Stafford and LBI community.  This Christmas many are appreciative of Mr. Wainright's good will.